Major UK distributor Zyro showed off their 2014 range to the cycle industry and the press in London yesterday. Zyro handle Cateye, Altura, Abus, Torq, Etxeondo, Panaracer and SKS, among many other brands. Here are the highlights…
We’ve already shown you the new Cateye Strada Smart smartphone compatible computer. The other key new product from the Japanese brand is the Padrone which comes with a larger display than you usually get with Cateye – 85% bigger than the display of the Urban Wireless, for example.
The screen size is 43 x 32mm and the complete head unit measures 67.5mm x 43mm. It’s just 14.5mm deep though, and it weighs 31.5g.
The idea of the larger display, of course, is that it’s easier to read. That might be particularly useful for mountain bikers and riders with imperfect vision, but some people just prefer larger digits anyway. The wireless Padrone gives you basic measurements based on speed, distance and time. It’ll be priced at £49.99 when it arrives in March.
Altura are best known for their Night Vision range of highly visible clothing, but they’re focussing on developing their sportive/performance clothing for 2014 and have some great looking products in the lineup.
This clothing is from the top-level Raceline range which has been rethought for this year. The Raceline Comp Short Sleeve Jersey (£64.99) is cut slim cut and it uses high-stretch European fabrics (nylon and polyurethane). Look closely and you can see that the arm grippers are perforated to improve the breathability.
The new Raceline Comp Bib shorts (£84.99) have similar grippers around the bottom of the legs and they come with a 3D Ergogel seatpad that’s pre-shaped, stretchy and multi-density.
Altura do several pairs of shorts that feature their ProGel pad which is multi-density with gel padding underneath your sit bones. These are the top-level offering in the ProGel range, the ProGel Comp bib shorts (£69.99) with anatomically shaped panels and mesh uppers.
The Women’s ProGel bib shorts (£59.99) are differently proportioned and come with a female-specific seatpad. They’re also available in a waist (non-bib) version (£39.99) and as a waist three-quarter model (£49.99).
Altura actually do an extensive range of women’s clothing, this being the new Women’s Synchro jersey (£39.99) aimed at the serious road rider. It is made from a high-wicking stretch fabric with a silicone hem gripper. There are two pockets around the back plus a zipped security pocket.
Altura’s entry-level lineup is the Airstream range. This high-wicking Airstream Short Sleeve Jersey is £34.99 and it’s available in blue, black, red and yellow. The Airstream bib shorts come with a two-layer multi-density pad for £39.99.
Altura have always made luggage and they’ve really improved their range for 2014 with several clever new options.
The Morph Backpack Pannier (£74.99) is arguably the smartest of them. As the name suggests, it’s both a backpack and a pannier. Swapping between functions is simple. Even on our first go, it took about 10secs.
If you have it as a backpack and want to make it a pannier, you just undo the two clips at the top of the back panel and spin the whole panel around the bottom of the pack to the other side.
You clip it in place in this new position, leaving Rixen Kaul Pressure Fit fittings revealed that attach the bag to a rack. The Morph Backpack Pannier is made from a tarpaulin fabric and will take a laptop up to 15in. A rain cover is included.
The Meta Messenger Pannier (£69.99) is new too. Again, it has Rixen Kaul Pressure Fit fittings but this time you can conceal them behind a padded flap with a magnetic closure to turn the pannier into a messenger bag.
There are new non-converting bags as well. This Sector 30 Backpack (£59.99), for example, has an air vented back panel that lifts the bag away from your back, allowing air to circulate. It’ll take a 15in laptop in a suspended internal compartment, so if you drop the pack there’s less chance of damaging your computer. There are all sorts of pockets and storage options, including an adjustable attachment for carrying a helmet when you’re off the bike.
The Zone 25 Backpack (£49.99) has many similar features but it’s smaller while the Grid 20 Backpack (£39.99) is smaller again. The Grid 20 will take a laptop up to 13in.
One final luggage option to tell you about is the new Explore Seat Pack (£24.99). It mounts to Rixen Kaul Quad-Integral hardware that you fix to your seatpost, and to get it off you just press in to little buttons on the side of the pack. It’s super-easy and very secure. The Explore Seat Pack itself has a 1 litre capacity.
Helmet and lock manufacturer Abus has launched the In-Vizz helmet with an integrated visor for 2014.
Aero helmets have become very popular in the past couple of years and there are a few helmets, like the Casco and Giro, that feature an a clip-on visor. The In-Vizz is quite novel in that the visor can be retracted into the body of the helmet when you don’t need it.
Abus isn’t really pushing the In-Vizz as an aero helmet, more that the visor will appeal to spectacled cyclists and those who don’t like wearing shades, but do want some protection from the wind, rain or sun. A small tab on the top of the helmet operates the visor, and it’s quite easy to do with one hand.
The visor can removed and replaced with different tint visors to suit riding conditions. The helmet is well ventilated with 22 vents in total. It’s constructed using an in-mould process and has a vertically adjustable retention system. It costs £129.99 and is available in two sizes and a raft of colours.
This is the Tec-Tical Pro V2 helmet, the company’s more regular top-end road helmet. It weighs a claimed 265g for a medium and the im-mould constructed shell is punctuated with 32 vents, 20 designed to pull air in at the front and sides and 11 exhaust ports to let warmer air escape.
The padding is removable so you can wash it after a fair few rides, and the soft touch straps are easy to adjust. Abus is keen on safety and add reflective details to the helmet to help boost visibility. It’s a smart looking helmet, available in several colours, and costs £99.99.
Abus of course is most well known for its locks, and for 2014 the company has a couple of new additions.
The Granit X-Plus 540 (£79.99-£99.99) here replaces the previous X-Plus 54 and has been given a facelift, in an attempt to make it look more premium with an embedded logo and two-tone colour. The parabolic 13mm square section shackle is protected against corrosion with an automatic keyhole cover and key houses an LED so its easier to use in the dark.
At the more affordable end of the Abus range is the brand new U-Grip 5700. It uses the folding design so it’s reasonably light and easily transportable, ideal for popping down to the shops. Abus tells us that foldable locks are very popular in Europe, and are starting to pick up in the UK as well.
It comes with a new strapless bag so it’s easy to transport on the bike. Lastly, it’s available in a choice of five bright colours.
Japanese tyre brand Panaracer has added a new 25mm width option to its entry level Catalyst range.
Costing £14.99 for the steel bead or £19.99 for the lighter folding bead, the tyre is made to offer good longevity with a robust casing, making it perhaps an ideal choice for commuting or a hardy winter training tyre. Unlike the 23mm version which is available in several colours, the new wider option is only sold in black.
Gravel racing is really popular in the US, with lots of long distance events and races that take place solely on gravel roads. That, and a general desire amongst a growing number of cyclists for wider tyres, has been the inspiration behind the company’s new Gravelking tyre.
It’s available in 23, 26 and 28mm widths and uses its ZSG Natural Compound with an Anti-Flat casing to ward off punctures. It looks like an ideal tyre for year-round riding in the UK, the larger volume adding a bit of extra comfort and the wider versions offering a little more traction if you’re heading along bridleways and surfaced cycle tracks.
SKS has a fine reputation for producing high quality track pumps, but the German company isn’t resting on its laurels.
The Airmenius (£89.99) is its brand new top-end track pump, made with an aluminium barrel and base and featuring a novel cork handle. When asked the reason for the cork handle, SKS told road.cc that they just really liked the ergonomics of it.
At the wide base is a 100mm wide pressure gauge. It goes all the way to 174 psi (12 bar). The Multi Valve head uses a simple flip lever and works with presta and schrader valves. The pump is fully serviceable too.
SKS has also introduced a new more affordable track pump, the Airkompressor 12.0, costing £32.99. Like the Airmenius it goes all the way to 174 psi and is 730mm tall. The dial is large and easy to read when you’re standing over it, and the Multi Valve attachment works with all types of valves. It’s available in white or black.
Basque-based Etxeondo has added the new Trier TX jersey to its range for 2014.
The company pays a lot of attention to the fit of its clothing, and for this new jersey it has shaped the panels to provide a really good, and flattering, fit. It’s also claimed to be aero as well, with the longer sleeves - which is becoming a common trend - smooth collar design and the close fit.
The middle section of the waistband at the back is made from an elastic material and this works to keep the jersey from shifting about when you’re cycling. Above it are three regular pockets, with a smaller zipped pocket for valuables in the middle.
Another trend in the cycle clothing industry at the moment is fluoro and neon colours, and Etxeondo has jumped aboard that wagon. If this black and yellow is too bold for you, there is a black/white and red/black option. It costs £119.99 and is available in sizes S-XXL.
The Orhi bib shorts (£149.99) are now available in a matching fluoro colour. That aside, the bib shorts haven’t changed from when we reviewed them last year. They have the company’s own design Urraki insert, manufactured for them by Elastic Interface.
We mentioned the new flavours from sports nutrition brand Torq in Tech Roundup a couple of weeks ago, and now we’ve had the chance to taste them for ourselves.
First up, Torq Gel is now available in Apple Crumble flavour. You’re dubious, right? You can imagine they might make a gel that tastes like apple, but apple crumble? You’re not so sure.
Well, here’s the surprising thing... it does taste like apple crumble. There’s the apple taste in there, but there’s also a hint of cinnamon and biscuit too. Honestly. Our lineup of experts in such things (that’s me and Dave) liked it. Pricing is the same as for the other Torq gels: £1.45 each.
Torq Energy drink is now available in a Natural Blackcurrant flavour. It’s fairly subtle compared to some and the idea is that the taste doesn’t build up on your tastebuds over time so you can drink it for longer without getting overpowered by it. We couldn’t tell you how well it works on that front because we only had a quick taste, but it seemed pleasant enough to us and not mega-sweet like Ribena, say.
Torq Energy comes in single serve sachets (£1.45), 500g tubs (£13.99) and 1.5kg resealable pouches (£27.99).
The third and final new flavour is the Cookies and Cream Recovery drink. Again, it does taste exactly as it’s supposed to. We weren’t as enamoured with this one as we were with the apple crumble gel, to be honest, but taste is such a matter of, um, taste. We still liked it.
Torq’s Recovery comes in 500g tubs (£19.99) and 1.5kg resealable pouches (1.5kg).
The new flavours are great but the nutritional value is what it’s all about really. Go to www.torqfitness.co.uk for all that information.
More info and details at www.zyro.co.uk
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.